ROME, AUG. 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- France’s move to repatriate Gypsies has not been compared to the Holocaust by a Vatican official.
An inaccurate translation of French-language comments from Italian Archbishop Agostino Marchetto made a stir in Italian reports last Friday and Saturday.
The archbishop is secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers and he spoke Thursday with the Rome-based French-language I.Media agency.
The prelate said he could not “rejoice over the suffering of these people, in particular when it is a question of weak and poor people who have been persecuted, who were victims likewise of a holocaust.”
Several Italian newspapers translated this last phrase in the present tense, which in fact was referring to the terrible past suffered by the Gypsies in World War II. Thus, the situation of those repatriated by the French was erroneously put on the archbishop’s lips as a holocaust.
The lack of a subsequent correction means that still today, statements are being attributed to the prelate that he never made.
Pastors, not politicians
In the interview, Archbishop Marchetto was clarifying that when the Pope or representatives of the Church “take up the defense of the rights of man, when we speak of respect for persons’ dignity, in particular of women and children, we are not engaging in politics but in pastoral” care.
“The Church is the Church, she is neither of the right nor of the left nor of the center,” he said. “She presents her point of view with respect especially in what concerns the moral law and social doctrine of the Church.”
In this context, the prelate explained that the expulsions of Gypsies should not be “collective.”
“Attention must be given to differences,” the prelate said, “and we cannot blame a whole population for the lack of compliance with the law by a few.”